Why do people fake Indigenous ancestry?

By Analysis by The Big Story Podcast

In today’s Big Story podcast, ever since author Joseph Boyden was called out for his claims of being an Indigenous author, every few weeks seems to bring a new story of a prominent researcher, writer or academic who has exaggerated or falsified their Indigeneity in order to secure grants or posts.

The numbers of people claiming Indigenous heritage in general has skyrocketed. Michelle Cyca wrote about this phenomenon for The Walrus. She joins us on today’s Big Story.

“Some of them seem like they’re more of a family history that’s been exaggerated a little bit or distorted over time,” she said, “Other times … I think we shouldn’t mince words and say they just seem like straight-up lies.”

So what changed? Why are these claims only being parsed now? What do people who make these claims stand to gain, and what harm are they doing to Indigenous people?

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You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.

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